The 2017 Oscar-nominated documentary Edith+Eddie tells the story of Edith Hill and Eddie Harrison, who marry in their mid-90s and become known online as "America’s oldest interracial couple". More than an inspiring love story, theirs also is a cautionary and heart-breaking tale about the state of elder justice and guardianship in the US as Hill's daughters battle over her care and the wishes of the couple to remain together. More →
The U.S. Government Accountability Office was asked by Congress to review federal elder justice program management issues. The results and recommendations that emerged from the study were recently released. Click here for a summary of the findings and here to read the full report.
This blog highlights the main areas addressed in the report, the recommendations for executive action and implications for the findings.
What is the U.S. Government Accountability Office?
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, non-partisan agency that works for Congress and investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. Their mission is to support Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve performance and ensure the accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people.
Main areas addressed by the report:
- The extent to which there is fragmentation, overlap, or duplication across the federal grant programs that support elder justice;
- The extent to which federal programs coordinate their efforts and monitor elder justice outcomes;
- How state aging agencies, area agencies on aging, and service providers deliver federal elder justice services and what challenges, if any, they face in doing so.
Recommendations for executive action:
The GAO recommends in the report that the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) take the lead in identifying common objectives and outcomes for the federal elder justice effort and that HHS and the Department of Justice develop a national elder justice public awareness campaign.
Implications for findings:
While the elder justice movement has gained momentum in recent years, there is a significant amount of work to be done. The Elder Justice Coordinating Council, charged with advising the Secretary of HHS on the cross-agency coordination of activities related to elder abuse, neglect and exploitation, has not defined objectives and outcomes for elder justice programming, which are needed to evaluate and understand the impact of elder justice programs and provide a rational for future coordination. The GAO report highlights the urgent need for the Coordinating Council to spearhead federal leadership for the elder justice movement.
By Cara Kenien, LMSW, MPA, Social Media Manager, NYCEAC